May 19, 2024
Ultimately these aren’t legal questions, but cultural questions, and the first question should be, “How much do we care about our leaders lying through their teeth?”

Dishonest politicians are a scourge from which no law can save us

The question is, how much do we actually care about our leaders lying through their teeth?

Recent efforts in the Welsh parliament to “ban lying in politics” have received some positive notices in Canada. If anything I’m surprised they haven’t received more. The idea has certainly been floated before. Many mainstream commentators are seized with the notion that Canadian democracy is in a moment of great and perhaps unprecedented peril, not least thanks to politicians’ shameless dishonesty.

And it would just seem quintessentially Canadian, wouldn’t it? Here is a thing our government has decided is bad. A rifle; an unusually large and un-fancy container of vodka; an e-scooter; lying in politics. Let’s ban it! Whether or not the ban works, whether or not it’s even enforced, is something to be worried about and furiously spun ages down the line — after the next election, as far as the current federal government is concerned.

It’s easy to imagine the increasingly panicked Liberals throwing something this out there as the last bulwark against Poilievre-ian tyranny, and it’s effortless to imagine the NDP supporting it.

When it comes to Welsh politics, I don’t know my Senedd from my Cynulliad Cenedlaethol. Maybe it would work in Cardiff. It would certainly be a fool’s errand in Ottawa, so it’s good that no one here is seriously proposing it (for now). Within two months of such a law passing in Ottawa, every party would declare the system corrupted on behalf of the other guys.

But I do know this much: lying in politics is a really bad thing. And Senedd member Adam Price, who has been leading the charge in Wales for this law, has certainly thought through his proposal more thoroughly and intelligently than I would expect from the average Canadian MP who might advance such an idea.

Interesting Read…

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